I whole-heartedly believe that, as an artist of any kind, getting to grips with photography is crucial. It helps you understand forms, shapes, structures and layouts. It makes you consider how to construct a narrative in a single frame and how to pin point something around you (which others may overlook) which can inspire you and an audience to see the world in a new way. Taking a camera out and just OBSERVING EVERYTHING is so useful as you can literally zoom in on small things. I find myself picking up on patterns and textures which I would probably miss in amongst the mass of visual stimuli. You can stop and just turn on a point and find hundreds of things to photograph and inspire you. For me, photography is the first step in any project I am working on.
Recently I have been exploring photography using black and white film and developing the film myself in a dark room with all the chemicals! I enjoyed exploring photography throughout my A-Level course but, although I have tried photograms, cyanotypes and pinhole cameras, I had always been reluctant with film. After all, one wrong move when developing and the whole reel could be ruined! After participating in a voluntary workshop in film processing and developing, I have now fallen in love. Below are a few photographs I took around campus during the workshop:
When we were briefed on our latest project (theme of Origins) I chose to look at animals. First step: Go to a petting farm (The wonderful Fisher's Farm, West Sussex) and spend the day photographing them. The shallow depth of field effect when using film is beautiful and means you have to carefully focus the camera on the subject matter (not always easy when the animal is moving but patience is key).
I used the various photographs I took (both film and digital) to inspire the direction of my project, and choose the characterful Alpacas as my subject matter to focus on. As someone who has had a fringe of hair that keeps getting in my eyes, I felt an emotional connection to the creatures! A selection of the black and white film photographs (as well as a couple of digital pieces of the Calf which I couldn't resist putting in) are shown on this page.
Check back soon where in my next blog post I will be discussing my Granddad's photography during WWII and how it influenced a photography project of mine...